Oralman (Kazakh: Оралмандар, Russian: Оралманы), or "returnee" is an official term used by Kazakh authorities to describe ethnic Kazakhs who have immigrated to Kazakhstan since its independence in 1991. Oralman usually come from the neighbouring countries of China, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan and also from countries with notable Kazakh minorities: Iran (Iranian Kazakhs), Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
Oralman typically settle in areas of Kazakhstan adjoining or near to their former homes, for reasons of climate and convenience; thus returnees from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan are often found in the country's south, while those from China and Mongolia are concentrated in the east. The government prefers to settle them in the north of the country, and offers them more benefits; however, returnees themselves prefer regions where the Russian language is less important in every day life, particularly in the south.
Oralman often face difficulty integrating into the labour market and with everyday communication due to insufficient command of the Russian language, which remains an important lingua franca in Kazakhstan.
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